Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Jason Cherniak's utopia

I wasn't planning on weighing in on the whole the NDP is sick/the Liberals are sick/Jason Cherniak is sick controversy, because it's pretty much all been said already. But today I was clicking through the incredibly depressing Democrats sure are useless category over at the left-wing U.S. blog Pandagon, and if you want a look at what the Canadian Liberals might look like if there were no NDP, you don't need to look any further.

From Pandagon's Pam Spaulding:

Let’s take a look at Howard Dean's vision of the core values of the party for 2006. Pay close attention to the sections on civil rights and civil equality, especially given we have state after state passing or preparing to pass amendments making lesbian and gay taxpaying residents second-class citizens. [...] What did you think about the civil equality section? Oh, oops...I’m sorry, you didn’t skim past it. IT'S NOT THERE.
And from Pandagon's jedmunds:
Everything in the Democratic party has been reduced to electability. And it is disgusting. Disgusting. A loud, defiant, fiery, populist surrender is bullshit. If you’re gonna lose, lose with some dignity, with your wounds in your chest and not in your back. I have no use for angry retreat. But that’s all I see on the horizon for this Democratic Party.
Oh, sure, we can tell ourselves that this is just another example of those crazy Americans, and that Canadians are different. But remember all those broken Liberal promises. Remember the national child care program that took a decade to not-quite-materialize, the failure to resist privatization in health care, the parliamentary committee on electoral reform that never went anywhere. Ask yourselves just how many more promises would have been broken if there hadn't been a party to their left, holding their feet to the fire. Ask yourselves how different the Canadian political scene might look as a two-party system. Ask yourselves whether you'd really want the chance to find out.

If people like Jason Cherniak really want to live in a country where centre and right are the only available options, then that possibility is open to them--immigration works both ways, after all. But I spent most of my life in the U.S., and I prefer the colourful political diversity that Canada has to offer.


Unknown said...

Jason Cherniak is sick. He had appendicitis and just had surgery. That's pretty sick. He's one sick bastard.

-Socialist Swine

Anonymous said...

We only have political diversity relative to our neighbour... We could use some more! If only there were some kind of, I don't know, system that allowed many parties to gain seats in the House, representing the populace in some kind of proportional distribution. If only!

Anonymous said...

Yes anonymous, if only...

But wait, thanks to The NDP there is!

But seriously, I totally agree that what we see in the 'States is an ultimately nightmarish potential outcome for the Canadian system if there were only 2 major choices like "center" or "right". Look at Nader, he is a respected intellectual with well researched policy ideas but every election people feel that voting for him is pointless because of the realities of the system. Is that the kind of democracy we want?

bruno_canada said...

the inevitability of the pull to the centre and right is even exhibited by the NDP itself.

the NDP, when in government, is constrained by the same larger north american political and economic reality.

NDP governments have ended up on the unhappy side of their own ideology. In B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan NDP governments have been delimited in their ability to intervene by the mess they have been left to clean up. Left over right-wing debt, privatisations, and corruption from previous administrations have all left lasting limitation on those NDP governments.

Especially debt.

International capital imposes IMF like policy restrictions (whether explicitly or implicitly) on NDP governments.

Because that debt and the need to refinance, they can't take some of the steps they need to.

The free-trade agreement and fiscal balancing make the reversal of privatisations almost impossible.

Also, a media that is increasingly taking a right wing stand defines the terms of the debate away from "left" issues.

The media spews the business "growth agenda" - you know "If you're not growing you're dying" - to a public that doesn't have a very long attention span, and lacks a grasp of the complexities of our social, political, and economic system.

The inexorable pull to the right continues.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


To the extent that you're right, you're only making a stronger argument for a centrism that consists of points of view from across the political spectrum rather than a centrism represented by a single political party.

Demosthenes said...

What Cherniak doesn't get isn't so much that the NDP pulls the Liberals to the left (although they do), but that they're really a party doing everything in their power to get a mixed-member system and, thus, a cozy spot in a left coalition. Considering such a shift is pretty much inevitable at this point, it's not a bad strategy.

The NDP is very much about government, but it's clearly taking the long view.

Anonymous said...

Well...Poop in the pants.

Anonymous said...

Huh, that was easy. I would think you have to sign up.
Well at any rate the other day I watched two dogs fucking. It was really hot outside but they cared not.

Just thought you all should know.

I have to go poop now :)